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Redesigned Audio Network at Wimbledon

RG Jones has undertaken a complete redesign of the audiuo distribution network at The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in time for this year's Wimbledon Championships.

  • Redesigned Audio Network at Wimbledon

RG Jones’ long relationship with The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club has taken a new turn with a complete redesign of the existing BSS Soundweb audio distribution system, The new scalable system spanning the 42-acre site involves four separate 256-channel BSS BLU-Link rings, using additional CobraNet boxes and BSS London BLU DSP’s, all supplied by Sound Technology, the UK and Ireland distributors.

It is over a decade since installation manager Jon Berry first arrived at an entirely copper-based distributed site. In 2002 RG Jones implemented the then radical programmable Soundweb digital distribution architecture — one of the largest deployments ever of BSS Audio’s Soundweb Original 9088 series — to meet both the live coverage and BBC broadcast requirements.

The Soundweb Original green boxes operated faithfully, but after six years the client’s requirement increased and BSS had upgraded to the next generation of DSP — the Soundweb London BLU — with its increased flexibility and processing speed. This led to the migration from Green to Blue devices.

This year, with the addition of the new Court 3 show court and Court 4 (occupying the sites of the original Courts 2 and 3 respectively), Berry recognised that despite carrying 256 channels of fault tolerant, low-latency audio at 48kHz/24bit across a standard CAT5e connection, the existing single BSS BLU-Link transport, installed back in 2008, had vastly been exceeding capacity.

And so he turned to Sound Technology for assistance.

With the arrival of the new courts — bringing court capacity back up to 19 — adaptation of the compromise system of last year was no longer an option. Since it was impossible to develop further BLU-Link channels, Tom Williams, Harman Pro’s Applications Engineer (then part of the Sound Technology Project Team) alongside BSS Audio’s Systems Support Engineer Jerome King, advised on an entirely new design constructed around four separate BLU-Link rings.

“We started making plans for this once we could see the compromises that would have had to be made otherwise” continued Berry. “The four new BLU-Link rings, which are linked via CobraNet, use ten CobraNet boxes handling conversion from CobraNet to BLU-Link.”

RG Jones have used London Architect Logic programming for soft switching to mute the Umpire’s Mic — a feature of the four main show courts. This facilitates the integrated Hawk-eye communication system.

In RG Jones’ new redundant system, almost all processing is duplicated and all the dynamics parameters are linked between the two A and B boxes using over 2000 parameter links, while the system also operates on a fully maintained UPS.

In terms of quantities, encompassed within the four BLU-Link rings, the network is spread across four BLU-800 processors, six BLU-320s, 34 x BLU-160’s and a BLU-120.

These perform their duties in three separate PA rooms. The one known as ‘Apex’ handles all courts south of Centre Court and supports the first BLU-Link ring. Centre Court is a primary control room and handles Centre Court and surrounding VIP/function areas. Finally, the main Broadcast Centre PA Room handles all courts to the north of Centre Court, and controls the physical link to the broadcasters. Here two BLU-Links reside — variously servicing the Broadcast and Media requirements (with the BLU-link stretched to incorporate OSCAR).

“We like Soundweb because of the familiarity as a long term user — which means we can implement changes with minimal fuss. The system has proven to be rock solid, it’s excellent audio-wise and thanks to the relationship we have with both manufacturer and distributor we can talk through problems and solutions in open discussion.”

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